United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES
Johnston United States Magistrate Judge
Jason Martin filed a Complaint alleging former Deputy United
States Marshal Logan Bryce utilized excessive force during
the course of Mr. Martin's arrest on February 29, 2016.
The Complaint fails to state a federal claim upon which
relief may be granted and should be dismissed.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Martin is a state prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis and
without counsel. He is incarcerated at Crossroads
Correctional Center. The sole Defendant is former Deputy
United States Marshal Logan Byrce. (Complaint, Doc. 2 at 4.)
Martin was convicted of federal charges in 2013. (United
States v. Martin, Criminal Action No.
4:12cr61-GF-BMM.) His supervised release was revoked on
August 31, 2015 and he was sentenced to seven months custody
followed by 29 months supervised released. One of the
supervised conditions of that release was that Mr. Martin was
required to reside in a Residential Reentry Center under
contract to the United States Bureau of Prisons for 180 days.
(Id. at Doc. 45-Petition for Warrant for Offender Under
February 29, 2016, Mr. Martin was removed from the Great
Falls Transition Center for “aggressive actions as a
risk to staff and other residents.” (Id. at
2.) Accordingly, the United States Probation Office filed a
petition for a warrant for an offender under supervision and
the undersigned signed an arrest warrant for Mr. Martin.
(U.S. v. Martin, 4:12cr61-GF-BMM, Docs. 45, 46.)
February 29, 2016, United States Marshal Logan Bryce and
United States Probation Officer Kevin Heffernan went to the
Great Falls Transition Center to arrest Mr. Martin. Mr.
Martin testified under oath at the final revocation hearing
on March 9, 2016 that when a staff member at the transition
center called him over to talk to him he knew the Marshals
were there, panicked and ran downstairs to a bathroom. When
he walked out of the bathroom, he was arrested by Marshal
Bryce. When the officers were escorting Mr. Martin outside,
Mr. Martin admits that he jerked away from Marshal Bryce
“because I was upset.” (U.S. v. Martin,
4:12cr61-GF-BMM, Doc. 63 at 36, 63.)
Complaint, Mr. Martin alleges he was handcuffed with his
hands behind his back while being escorted by Marshal Bryce.
As they approached the transport vehicle, Mr. Martin pulled
his right arm from what he alleges was “Defendant
Brice's excessive grib [sic].” He contends that
Marshal Bryce was holding him with greater force than
necessary. Mr. Martin alleges that Marshal Bryce
“became instantly enraged and immediately reached up
and placed both of his hands on Plaintiff Martin's neck
and began to choke him.” After about three seconds, Mr.
Martin noticed that Marshal Bryce would not let go or loosen
his hold. Mr. Martin began to panic because he could not
breathe and his hands were cuffed behind his back and he
began to squirm violently attempting to free himself. Because
he was still unable to breathe, he attempted to move his head
back and forth in an attempt to break loose of Marshal
Bryce's choke. This made Marshal Bryce even more angry
and he squeezed harder for a few more seconds. Mr. Martin
alleges the total choke time was approximately 15 seconds.
Martin is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis so the
Court must review his Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§
1915, 1915A. Sections 1915A(b) and 1915(e)(2)(B) require the
Court to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis and/or
by a prisoner against a governmental defendant before it is
served if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
complaint is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). “A case is
malicious if it was filed with the intention or desire to
harm another.” Andrews v. King, 398 F.3d 1113,
1121 (9th Cir. 2005). A complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted if a plaintiff fails to allege
the “grounds” of his “entitlement to
relief.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quotation omitted).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a
complaint “that states a claim for relief must contain
. . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). This rule requires a complaint to “contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim